The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. Concludes Annual Conference with Star-Studded Phoenix Awards

October 3, 2022

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Yolanda Raine 
Vice President, Marketing and Communications

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) wrapped the 51st Annual Legislative Conference (#ALC51) this past week with its star-studded Phoenix Awards, keynoted by  President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, D.C. The 5-day policy conference included appearances by politicians, activists, artists, and notable personalities sharing their perspectives on several topics ranging from maternal health to gun safety. The culminating event, the annual Phoenix Awards, recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to society while uplifting and empowering the global Black community. Actors Meagan Good and Omari Hardwick served as co-hosts, and over 2,500 guests enjoyed the musical selection of seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gladys Knight

“This year’s Phoenix Awards honorees exemplify true servant leadership, as each has worked tirelessly toward further advancement of Black communities and ensuring equal opportunity for all,” said CBCF President and CEO Nicole Austin-Hillery. “We applaud their efforts in public service and celebrate their achievements that have made a widespread impact across our nation.”

The 2022 Phoenix Awards honorees:

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: A renowned culture critic, author, and professor at Georgetown University, Mr. Dyson is known to offer perspectives on contemporary issues impacting Black communities. His insight on religion, pop culture, and race has sparked many conversations that challenge the status quo of how America views and treats Black and brown individuals. Dr. Dyson will receive the CBC Chair’s Phoenix Award.

Lisa D. Cook: A tireless advocate for gender and racial equity and public servant, Ms. Cook serves as a member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She is the first Black woman to serve on the Board in its 108-year history. Before joining the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Ms. Cook was an economics and international relations professor at Michigan State University. Ms. Cook will receive the CBCF Chair’s Award. 

Opal Lee: A native of Marshall, Texas, Ms. Lee is a retired educator who was instrumental in advocating for Juneteenth to become a federally recognized holiday. For decades, she pushed for Juneteenth to become a federal holiday, and in 2021 she witnessed her vision become a reality as she stood near President Joe Biden as an honored guest during the bill signing ceremony, making Juneteenth an official federal holiday. Ms. Lee is the recipient of the CBC Body Award.

Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS): As the longest-serving Black elected official in the state of Mississippi, Congressman Thompson draws his inspiration from the legacies of Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, and Henry Kirksey. As a political activist, he has been a champion for civil rights, equal education, and quality healthcare, starting from his days at Tougaloo College with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to his present role representing the people of Mississippi’s Second District, serving his ninth term on the Homeland Security Committee, and as chairman of the January 6 committee. As a public servant, he has become a voice for the voiceless, pushing for fair and adequate resources for the disenfranchised, and focusing on overcoming persistent disparities. Congressman Thompson is being honored with the Democracy Trailblazer Award.

Ruth E. Carter: is an American costume designer with over forty films to her credit, who is widely regarded as having mastered the look of multiple periods and genres in envisioning the clothing and overall appearance of a character or performer. During her nearly-30-year film career, Carter has been nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, for her work on Spike Lee’s biographical film Malcolm X (1992), Steven Spielberg’s historical drama film Amistad (1997), and her most recent work on the film Black Panther (2018), for which she won the award and became the first African-American to win an Academy Award in that category. Ms. Carter is the recipient of the 2022 Honorary Co-Chairs Award.

Sponsored by Amazon, #ALC51 took place from September 28 to October 2 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., and attracted more than 15,000 attendees across the country.

Transcripts of remarks by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and Vice President Kamala Harris can be found here.


About the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.

Established in 1976, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. (CBCF) is a non-partisan, nonprofit, public policy, research, and educational institute committed to advancing the global Black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public. For more information, visit